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Mince Pies anyone? It’s that time again…..

What are they?

These are an essential part of Christmas celebrations and are made from minced fruit not minced meat.
They are small sweet pies, usually 4-6cm, made with mincemeat and a pastry case and cooked in the oven and are served at parties and family gatherings around Christmas time. The filling is a mixture of sultanas, raisins, apricots, glace cherries, candied fruits and various types of nuts and mixed spices; usually cinnamon and nutmeg.

Father Christmas and Mince Pies

They are a favourite food of Father Christmas too and children leave one or two out on a plate for him on Christmas Eve beside the chimney with a glass of brandy or milk and a carrot for Rudolph (the reindeer) as a thank you for filling their stockings and to keep him fortified for the night’s work!

The Mince Pie Star

Traditionally mince pies should have a star on top of them to represent the Christmas star which some people think led the shepherds and Magi to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Mince Pie History

Mince pies became a regular part of Christmas celebrations in the 16th Century – the Tudor times, when mince pies had some shredded meat in them as well as sweet dried fruits. The crusaders came back from the Holy Land with spices and it was thought appropriate to celebrate Christ’s birthday with a pie containing spices from his native land. The three most important spices were cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the Kings.


Some say you should make a wish as you eat your first pie of the season and that they should always be eaten in silence. It is thought to be unlucky to cut a mince pie with a knife so be prepared to eat a whole one when offered. They can be served hot or cold with a sprinkling of icing sugar on top and sometimes with a dollop of cream! Enjoy!

What special food do you eat in your country? Let me know - I’d love to hear from you

Jo Smith

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Mi Sun - Korea

Mi Sun - Korea

I did a Speaking PLUS course with Jenny and Nigel to practice speaking before my exam. The feedback I got at each session helped me improve a lot and so I got 7.0 for speaking which is just what I wanted to get. I am very glad that I found this website before my test.

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